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The Darker Legacy of Iraq

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    The Darker Legacy of Iraq by Robert W. Barker - BDozer1947 @aol.com April 2, 2008 Suicides among US troops is increasing at a higher rate than any time in
    Message 1 of 1 , May 7, 2008
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      The Darker Legacy of Iraq
      by Robert W. Barker - BDozer1947 @...
      April 2, 2008

      Suicides among US troops is increasing at a higher rate than any time
      in history, as we demand that people repeat tours in Iraq. Vast
      increases of violent crimes by returning Iraqi- Afghanistan veterans
      within the USA as the culture of violence spreads. The cost of this
      Iraqi war is borne in massive death and physical injury, as well as
      increasing monetary loss. Yet it may be that the cost in psychological
      damage to the American troops and our collective psyche is the most
      vastly under estimated negative factor.

      Measuring the damage suffered as a nation in this dark Iraqi conflict
      is a vast undertaking of numerous variables that all speak of failure
      and future cost. We are aware of the over four thousand American
      servicemen deaths, and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis killed,
      millions displaced and refuges created in surrounding countries.
      Weapons lost or stolen, billions literally misplaced, strategies
      failed, torture allowed and mercenaries encouraged.

      Billions of interest loaded cash thrown into the desert pit monthly
      and the Chenyburton war with no real agenda goal or reason and we
      ignore it like an embarrassing distant cousin.

      All this is obvious, yet the hidden cost to our neglected
      infrastructure and the psychological impact of returning injured, over
      worked, battled fatigued, homicidal or suicidal people is vastly

      Military personal placed in occupied areas, with insurgents that sneak
      attack, their comrades in arms with guerilla tactics, roadside bombs,
      suicide bombers, creates extreme prejudice and hatred in the minds of
      the occupying troops.

      Soon the locals are no longer viewed as humans, and the general
      population becomes suspect, those circumstances place these military
      people in an, “Atrocity Producing Zone.”

      In this hostile environment surrounded by people that may or may not
      be the enemy, everyone is potentially dangerous. A simple act of
      walking into a place of business to purchase cigarettes or a soda
      could result in ones death, this anxiety breed’s mental anguish and
      that turns into violent or depressive reactions. Military Service
      people in Iraq serve in constant defensive postures, tension breeds
      animosity and death of one’s service mate’s produces intense
      reactions and off hand revenge.

      The Green Zone is the safety base and outside is viewed as enemy
      territory and all civilian people as possible enemies; creating an
      acute awareness that can verge on or become paranoia. Atrocities of
      rape, mass murder and other dark scenarios have been laid at the feet
      of our own people both in Iraq and now in the USA, and as the bellum
      goes on and the tensions ebb and flow we will see additional
      atrocities on all sides.

      Death and violence follow the troops home.
      The result of all this wanton violence and unnecessary conflict is
      additional misery for the USA, in sociological terms we pay for the
      mental anguish produced by poor policy.

      In January 08 the New York Times reported that at least 121 Iraq,
      Afghanistan veterans have committed homicide in the USA, or facing
      charges in crimes involving murder, after returning from combat. The
      Times tells us it also logged 349 homicides involving all active-duty
      military personnel or new veterans in the six years since US military
      invasion commenced in Afghanistan, and later Iraq. That statistic
      represents an 89 % increase over the previous six-year period,
      according to the N.Y.Times. About three-quarters of these homicides
      involved Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans, a pattern starts to
      develop here and it is not good.

      Neither the Pentagon nor the federal Justice Department keeps up with
      such murder or crime statistics by returning vets, and they are
      generally prosecuted in local or state civilian courts, so few people
      follow the bouncing ball.

      The NY Times did just that and the ball is bouncing to a violent beat.

      Are we socializing or conditioning people to create violence in
      indiscriminate ways and when they return they continue to live out
      this reality?

      “Socialized for atrocity” is the phrase that seems to fit this
      convoluted and sad scenario, and in Iraq, it is all for nebulous
      reasons at best. Some will bring this attitude home other internalize
      it and both are ticking time bombs of danger to the civilian
      population of both Iraq and the USA.

      When bellum has a perceived and agreed on clear agenda, when ground is
      gained, people freed from oppression, political lessons learned, moral
      platitudes sought, war {while never desirable} can have some positive
      attributes that one can point out, and in general far less
      psychological damage is wrought upon the combatants. Conflict in that
      light makes some sense, and provides the psychological lift that plain
      old “purpose” gives the human spirit.

      When reasons for bellum are vague and justification changed on
      altering circumstance, the platform of moral grounds crumbles
      beneath the combatants feet leaving psychological conflicts within the
      individual soldiers mind. Conflict based on prevarications,
      distortions, political or financial gain for a limited few; begins to
      produce an attitude of compromised moral platitudes. An intrinsically
      immoral war becomes a personal Hell for those that wage it, and they
      bring this attitude home.
      Let me make one thing clear this is not the typical American in Iraq,
      most of our people operate with morals and conduct themselves in a
      fashion we can be proud of, yet there are many exceptions and this
      conflict breeds psychological weariness and sociopathic or depressive

      A suicide epidemic is underway like never before in military history.
      More veterans from the desert wars take their own lives per capa then
      in any war in American history. Just last year CBS did a News
      investigation found that in 05 there were at least 6256 suicides among
      those that served in the armed forces recently. It comes out to 120
      suicides per week and the majority was serving in Iraq. Suicide is
      epidemic among Iraq veterans and the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is
      often left untreated or ignored leaving a potential time bomb ticking.
      One sad example out of thousands is Jeffery Lucey son of Joyce and
      Kevin Lucey who committed suicide following his tour in Iraq in 2004.
      His mother Joyce was quoted as saying:” My son was betrayed first by
      a government who sent him to war and then by the Veterans
      Administration for not giving him the treatment he needed.”

      Many veterans and their advocate groups are reporting that the VA is
      ignoring Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or treating it in an
      unprofessional manner. Veterans Administration figures for certain age
      groups were studied and two seemed to jump off the page. Troops of the
      ages between 20 and 24 are those most likely to have served during the
      Iraq-Afghan wars, suicide attempts in this age group rose from 11 to
      47 in one year. And for vets ages 55 to 59, suicide attempts jumped
      from 19 to 117, the older ones seem to have a harder time dealing with it.

      Jeff and many others died from this shameless bellum but their names
      will never be on a memorial wall, no hero’s burial and they are not
      considered casualties of war. Nonetheless the Iraq war killed them.
      Our people are burnt out psychologically in dismay and unappreciated
      and we wonder why they are suicidal or homicidal. And the injured face
      below standard recovery programs and a possible bill for medical services.

      Outside the Green Zone
      Dawn and the intense sun beckons morning in the hot sands of Iraq,
      another day in a war torn country and hope is thin for the average
      citizen. Trash heaps grow in the streets and electricity is
      intermittent at best. The surge that Baghdad really needs is an
      electrical surge, the escalation truly necessary is trash clean up and
      general police work.

      Gunfights erupt spontaneously, bombs go off at the market and the
      blood rolls down the gutters and pours into the Tigress River. The
      long nights bring the majority of people into the covers of their
      homes as killers and rapist and kidnappers that roam the
      neighborhoods, the predators are from several tribal affiliations and
      one tribe is the USA. Huddling together families are praying they can
      have a secure night’s sleep, while outside their doors the chaos and
      civil war rages on for years, Iraqis are sadly growing used to the chaos.

      Death is common, morgues busy 24 hours a day, children disappear and
      families wiped out for the ethnicity or tribe affiliations. No one is
      sure who the real culprit is, for every sectarian group; each Iraqi
      soldier or American troop can fetch tragic consequences or complete
      downfall to anyone caught out at night, or at times even in broad
      Sunnis blame Shiites, and vise a versa, Kurds stretch for power,
      Christians hide, and other groups grope for a place in this convoluted
      place. Millions have fled Iraq and fill refugee camps in Syria,
      Lebanon and other Arab nations as well as the West. Murdering, raping,
      pillaging lifestyle that has no goals or positive conclusion for
      extended periods tends to leave human beings in a sociopathic
      depression. I read the stories of the confused people that return with
      horror accounts or shocked systems numbed by the violence and sense of
      frustration they experienced in Iraq.

      The so called SURGE was not the accurate basis for the short term drop
      in violence, it was the buying off of tribal leaders and the
      neighborhood ethnic cleansing that has occurred since the war started.
      Now that the Sunni neighborhoods and the Shiite hoods are more
      homogeneous the tension has eased a little. And certain warlords and
      clerics have been cooperating for various favors and political clout.
      Yet they will resurge and this last few weeks the Shiite cleric al
      Sadr proved that his militia may be finished appeasing the Americans,
      and fights broke out ironically as John McCain claimed we were
      winning. Al Sadr later told his Mahdi to back off and tensions eased
      so one is not being a genius when we say Sadr is the de facto Shiite
      leader in Iraq.
      Rape and murder by our own

      Our homes, laws and infrastructure provide a modicum of safety and
      security here in the West, in Iraqi dwellings laws or lost
      infrastructure are no guarantees of comfort or refuge, occupants may
      be rudely awakened in the middle of the night and rousted or worse.

      One of the most tragic of all the crimes perpetuated on the Iraqi
      people is the rape of their daughters and the deaths of witnesses to
      cover sexual crimes; this has been laid at the feet of Americans as
      well as insurgents.

      Witness the rape of a fourteen-year-old girl and the murder of her
      family carried out by four US soldiers in Mahmoudiya, Including one
      PFC Steven D. Green. in March 06. These young Americans planned her
      rape as they observed her from a checkpoint they manned, she was young
      and even though dressed modestly she became a focus of violent lust.
      Later these four young men raped the child, killed her family, and
      burned her home down; all to cover the heinous crime of rape.

      We hear of the crimes of rape and torture in Abu Ghraib prison and
      people held with no charges at all, or rape and murder, indiscriminate
      shootings by Blackwater, and we wonder how can my fellow Americans do
      such things?

      Murder and rape are the darker shadowy side of war; if one can picture

      Crimes against the Iraqi people are carried out by Insurgents that
      place bombs in crowded areas for maximum impact, or execute a busload
      of people for their ethnicity, yet we are not much better. Meanwhile
      our tax dollars go towards torture, maim, rape and killing Iraqis to
      bring peace to Iraq, minute nuances in perception are all that
      separate Coalition troops or Blackwater mercenaries from Terrorist.
      Examples of the psychological damage this conflict has had on many
      citizens serving in Iraq are numerous, the few sited here are a small
      number of the atrocities blamed on US military or the Blackwater

      Marine Lance Corporal Humberto Mendoza gave sworn testimony and
      evidence he was ordered to execute civilians under the command of
      Sergeant Frank Wuterich, and Mendoza refused to carry out said order.
      This is an everyday possibility in this conflict, and statistics prove
      it is underreported. This case is rare in that Mendoza refused an
      order and it was reported, most such incidence are hidden in deep dark
      corners of our people’s minds.

      Murder rates and suicide epidemics by returning veterans are smothered
      in the birth canal of corporate media, few people are even aware of
      this psychological cost of Chenyburton’s Iraq.

      Depleted Uranium'™s unknown medical impact and violent crimes against
      US civilians, loss of International prestige, and a suicidal epidemic,
      are just a small part of the cost of the Iraq war. Most of our people
      conduct themselves in an honorable fashion yet the stress they face is
      socializing many for violence and it is not always an easy thing to
      control or separate realities when returning. We all need to consider
      this aspect of this bellum for Burton and demand an end to this Hell
      in Iraq.



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